Ohio Senior Olympics coming to campus this month

In just a few short weeks, Case Western Reserve University will welcome about 1,200 new faces to campus. But it won’t be the incoming first-year class. Instead, all of these guests will be athletes over the age of 50, as Case Western Reserve has been selected to host events for the 2012 Ohio Senior Olympics, held July 21 and 26–29.

This is the first time Cleveland has been the host city for the Ohio Senior Olympics, and it serves as a test run for the city before it hosts the 2013 National Senior Games. Case Western Reserve also will be an event site for the national games next year, held July 21–Aug. 1.

The Ohio Senior Olympics and National Senior Games are part of the National Senior Games Association, a nonprofit member of the United States Olympic Committee dedicated to motivating senior men and women to lead a healthy lifestyle through the senior games movement.

Though the 2013 National Senior Games will be a much broader scale—organizers anticipate 14,000 athletes along with additional family and friends—this year’s Ohio Senior Olympics is a major event itself. The Ohio games are qualifying rounds, so in order to compete at the National Senior Games next year, athletes from the area must take part in the Ohio Senior Olympics.

Approximately 1,200 athletes ranging in skill level from novice to expert will descend upon Cleveland to take part in 19 events, including basketball, bowling, cycling, horseshoes, swimming and triathlons. Here at Case Western Reserve, events will include archery, volleyball, track and field, racquetball, shuffleboard and table tennis.

“Volunteers are needed in a variety of areas, such as registration, operations, hydration, score keeping, awards distribution and more. Individuals are welcome to volunteer at any of the events—which will also be held at Cleveland State University, James Day Park and Little Mountain Country Club—but would be especially helpful on campus,” said Lauren Grys, volunteer coordinator for the 2013 Summer National Senior Games.

“Having the students, faculty and staff involved on campus would be incredible because they know the campus, they know the facilities, and they’re able to answer any of the athletes’ questions or those of our staff who may not be familiar with campus,” she said. “Plus, our volunteers serve as an extension of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission staff and serve as great ambassadors to the city of Cleveland by enhancing the experience of the athletes and their friends and families during their time in our city.”

Individuals can also volunteer to assist with the Year of Vitality, a community programming series promoting active lifestyles with mostly free activities and educational opportunities. Year of Vitality events will launch with a  screening of the documentary Age of Champions July 25, along with the Ohio Senior Olympics Hall of Fame Induction on July 26 and the Cleveland Senior Walk on July 27.

The deadline to volunteer is July 9 at 5 p.m. A volunteer training event will be held on campus July 16. To sign up, call 216.479.6361 or visit 2012ohseniorolympics.theregistrationsystem.com.

For more information on the Ohio Senior Olympics or the 2013 National Senior Games, visit Cleveland2013.com.